Governor Newsom Announces Posthumous Pardon for Courageous California Abortion Provider, Lifts Up State’s Work to Protect and Expand Reproductive Freedom for All

SACRAMENTO –  As states across the country continue to impose archaic and dangerous laws to outlaw abortion and criminalize patients and providers, Governor Gavin Newsom today granted a posthumous pardon to Laura Miner, a courageous provider of reproductive health services in California from 1934 to 1948, and lifted up the state’s continued work to expand and protect reproductive rights and health care access for all. Laura Miner dedicated her career to providing safe and accessible elective abortions at a time when punitive restrictions forced women to seek unregulated and often medically risky abortions. She was respected in the medical community as a highly skilled practitioner and served patients in need on a sliding scale. In 1949, Miner was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for the felony crimes of abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion. “In California, we’re never going back to a time when women were forced to seek basic health care in back rooms and underground clinics,” said Governor Newsom. “Laura Miner’s story is a powerful reminder of the generations of people who fought for reproductive freedom in this country, and the risks that so many Americans now face in a post-Roe world. Miner paid a price for taking a stand, and today we’re taking a step to right this injustice and reaffirm California’s commitment to defending the hard-won progress made by countless advocates and health care providers over the decades.”A copy of the pardon certificate granted today can be found here.“This pardon is a reaffirmation of California’s commitment to uphold reproductive rights and to protect those who seek or provide abortion care,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “As a woman and a mother, I’m so grateful for Laura Miner’s courage and dedication to providing women safe reproductive care in the face of tremendous personal risk. Now, more than 70 years after Ms. Miner was unjustly convicted, we must channel her strength and resolve as we fight to protect and guarantee in the U.S. a woman’s very basic right to make decisions about her own body and future.”“Laura Miner was a hero ahead of her time who willingly traded her own freedom to save countless women – women who risked everything to make their own healthcare decisions and, in a very basic sense, choose their own future,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “Laura’s bravery deserved to be commended, not prosecuted, and I’m grateful that we have evolved enough to be able to pardon her today. Laura’s story of subversive care eerily foreshadows what we may see as courts and statehouses across the country roll back our reproductive rights. We remember her, and the generations of women who had no option but to seek care in the shadows, as we continue the work to ensure that California is a beacon of reproductive justice and access for all.”California now protects and regulates safe reproductive health care for all, and the state continues to enact nation-leading laws and policies to make this essential care more affordable and accessible. With this act of clemency, Governor Newsom is acknowledging the inherent injustice of Miner’s conviction and her important contributions to the people of California.“Thank you Governor Newsom for not just taking steps to improve access to essential health care like abortion today, but righting the injustices towards providers in the past,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “The action today is a stark reminder of the reality that now is before us in this post-Dobbs world and the risk providers take every day to make sure patients get the care they want and need. We are grateful for Governor Newsom’s commitment to continue to move our state forward towards a more equitable and just future – one where people are able to get the care they want, when they want, and where they want, free from fear of legal persecution.”Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Governor Newsom and the Legislature have taken action to advance California’s leadership on reproductive freedom with new measures to further protect patients and providers from legal retaliation, assist women in other states seeking abortion care, and expand reproductive health care access and affordability:

  • Launched to provide people inside and outside of California with information about their legal rights, where to find providers, financial assistance and more.
  • Allocated more than $200 million to cover uninsured care, support health care facilities, providers and patients, bolster security and more.
  • Signed legislation to help protect patients and providers in California from civil liability for providing, aiding or receiving abortion care in the state.
  • Eliminated copays for abortion care services and signed into law a package to further strengthen access and protect patients and providers.
  • Signed legislative measures to ensure that pregnancy loss is not criminalized, safeguard the privacy of medical records and prohibit law enforcement and corporations from cooperating with out-of-state entities regarding lawful abortions in California.
  • Signed an executive order preventing medical records, patient data and other information from being shared by state agencies in response to inquiries or investigations brought by other states or individuals within those states looking to restrict abortion access, and declining to extradite any person in California sought by another state for lawful abortion services provided in California.
  • Launched a new Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care and protect patients and providers.

This is the Governor’s second posthumous pardon. In 2020, he granted his first posthumous pardon to Bayard Rustin, a humanitarian and influential civil rights leader. To date, Governor Newsom has granted a total of 130 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 reprieves. Additional information on executive clemency can be found here.